#18 BYU: 81-72 loss at #14 Baylor
After breaking the 80-point mark ten times out of 13 before conference play, the Cougars offense has cooled, including a 71-60 home loss to Cincinnati and most recently an 81-72 road loss to Baylor on Tuesday night.
It hasn’t been easy for Mark Pope’s Cougars, who now find themselves in a 0-2 hole to start Big 12 play early on.
Despite leading Baylor by nine points early in the second half, BYU had a hard time stopping Jalen Bridges, who led the Bears in scoring with 25 points on 7/14 shooting.
There have been two issues with the Cougars in their two-game skid, one in the frontcourt and another with taking care of the basketball.
In the frontcourt, both Aly Khalifa (who is not much of a scorer to begin with) and Noah Waterman have struggled to get going offensively. What will be key moving forward will be the health of Fousseyni Traore, who just recently returned after suffering a hamstring injury in late November.
In terms of taking care of the basketball, BYU has averaged 16 turnovers per game in their past two losses despite still boasting the nation’s best assist/turnover ratio, according to TeamRankings.
Level of concern: 5/10
Although we are not in complete panic mode, there is undoubtedly a moderate level of concern for BYU moving forward. For a team that got off to such a sweltering start in non-conference play, it should be dutifully noted that their NCOS ranked in the bottom 15 percent in college basketball, according to KenPom.
On the bright side, we are nowhere near panic mode because the Cougars did give a valiant effort in Waco (although I’m not a big moral loss type of guy) and are still in a position to grab a single-digit seed due to their strong metrics. BYU will travel to Orlando to take on UCF – a team that recently knocked off the Kansas Jayhawks on Wednesday.